Chapter headers and other interior graphics

I like the little extras. The things that make the interior of a book pretty. Little flourishes and things like that. I’ve seen some unbelievably beautiful interiors. I’ve seen utterly plain ones, too. Ultimately, the presence of graphics don’t affect how enjoyable a story is. But they’re nice. Even some awful stories have remained memorable to me because of how nice the design and layout inside was. And the stories that are good that have interest graphics added? Perfection.

I always knew I’d want to incorporate visuals into my books. Particularly the books in the Snakesblood Saga. While I often dreamed of incorporating illustrations–such as character portraits–in the books, I ultimately decided I didn’t have the resources for those. Probably not the skill, either. So I decided to keep the touches small. One of the easiest things to incorporate is decorative headers at the beginning of each chapter.

Originally, I had planned to do an icon-style graphic for each major character and/or faction and then put each character’s icon in the header of whatever chapter that character played a major part. But that ended up being just as big a job as the character illustration idea, so I slimmed down to one: One icon in a specific visual style, unique to each book in the series, connected to the overall arc of that specific book.

Book one featured the seven-pointed star that’s found on Firal’s necklace, as her story was forefront in that book. Book two, which is coming out at the end of this month, will have a matching icon representing the ruins. Let me tell you, creating a vector that looks hand-drawn is hard.

But now that me and my editor have started working on book three, I’m back to looking at my sketches again, trying to figure out what to do.

From this point forward, it gets harder to narrow the story down to just one object or symbol that represents what’s happening. I’ve pulled a few ideas from the previous sketches I did–you can see how I merged the idea of lmenhith’s star with Firal’s mage pendant for the icon I used in book one–and I drew a few new sketches, too. Right now, for book three, I’m leaning toward the rune-stone I sketched out this morning.

Book three is slated for late summer right now. I’m not making the release date concrete until I’m sure we can hit it, but I’m hopeful it’ll still be July. I’m not totally sold on that icon choice, though, and there are still three books after that to plan for. I don’t know–which icon designs do you like best?

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